As a food innovation company, we’re always tracking the latest research and looking ahead to spot trends. Now that 2017 is officially here, we thought we’d share what we believe will be important trends for the coming year.
1- Healthy on-the-go
Today’s consumer is making it very clear through their food choices from day-to-day and week-to-week that healthy-for-me is at the top of their priority list. Research shows that millennials are at the forefront of this trend, and social media platforms like Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter and Facebook are connecting more of them to one another and to influencers.
Consumers also want healthy food choices that are able to travel easily—anywhere, anytime. “Can I eat them in the car, on the train, at the office, at the gym, on the run from my front door to curbside pick-up of my kids at school?” These are the questions they are asking before a purchase.
2- Say goodbye to added sugars
We are becoming more aware, almost daily, that added refined sugars are not good for anyone and that our food choices need to reflect what we know to be true. We believe this year many consumers will leave added sugars behind and choose the pure, nutrient dense, delicious foods that make good sense to help support our health and busy lifestyles.
3- Gut microbiome health—for people and pets!
Gut microbe health and its importance is here to stay. We know consumers are looking for items that promote gut health for themselves, their kids—and even their pets. In fact, we will continue to hear more about this area of human/animal/environmental health as scientists and researchers in this area lean more. Already, we hear these terms daily:
- Healthy Gut
- Gut Microbiome
- Healthy Bugs
The gut microbiome is incredibly important to our health, and scientists are just uncovering the “tip of the iceberg” in this vital area. It’s our gut microbes that digest and facilitate nutrient absorption, facilitate immune responses and are even involved in brain function on a constant basis. Microbes are vital to quality of life and are our most important symbiotic relationship.
This is the reason Thomas Creek Farms pays close attention to the world of gut microbiome health research. Our freeze-dried fruit and vegetable products can act as prebiotics in the human and animal digestive tracts, supporting healthy gut microbes and their important processes in digestion and absorption of nutrients from the foods that are traveling through the G.I. Tract.
As farmers, we also pay close attention to soil microbe health and veracity for the very same reasons. Healthy soil that is alive and active helps the plants’ ability to absorb, break down and metabolize soil nutrients so very important to plant health and overall productivity.
4- Fermented foods
As researchers continue to discover the importance of your microbiome—the ecosystem of good bacteria that resides in our gut—to your overall health, we believe the fermented food craze will only grow. Fermented foods contain probiotics (live bacteria and plant fibers that have been linked to a healthy microbiome). Examples include kefir, kimchi, kombucha, sauerkraut and yogurt.
We believe the demand for items like this will continue to grow as shoppers seek to boost their gut health, especially by reaching for on-the-go snacks like yogurt and drinks such as fermented probiotic and kombucha beverages.
5- Clean Labels
Grocery buyers are shifting their health-conscious buying habits to not only include fresh produce and refrigerated products, but they are also turning to the packaged goods aisle and scrutinizing labels. According to our recent blog on “How millennials are driving demand for clean food labeling,” if an ingredient isn’t recognizable to a consumer, the product isn’t making the cut.
These consumers are even more concerned with the ingredient list than cost, and they’re scouring the shelves to find what they want. A simple list of easy-to-understand ingredients on the nutrition label is what they’re looking for, and we see this trend continuing for a long time to come.
6- More color on our plates
Eating a colorful variety of fruits and vegetables offers our bodies the vitamins and minerals we need to function well each day. Because colorful fruits and vegetables such as blueberries, blackberries, squash, kale, carrots and spinach offer specific phytonutrients—or plant nutrients—that are essential to maintaining a healthy lifestyle, consumers are looking to step out of their comfort zones and try even more of these beautifully colored veggies. (To view the benefits of each color, check out this chart.) This is why we believe eating fresh fruits and vegetables in an array of vibrant colors will become more and more important to health-conscious consumers in 2017.
Thomas Creek Farms Founder Karen Avinelis is passionate about food innovation and would love to connect with you personally on LinkedIn to continue the conversation.
If you have an idea for a new product and/or would like help with sourcing ingredients for it, feel free to contact us and we’d be happy to help!